My first new post in months…

…and it’s about something totally stupid. Ah well!

We have this new YouTube channel, LETS RACING TIME, where the Talking Time dudes get together and pretend to be good at video games. It’s probably just a fad that will die out once we run out of Mario and Mega Man games, but it’s a good way to spend an evening in the meantime. It’s also proven to be an effective way to dredge up long-forgotten childhood memories.

Some of the dudes just did a race of Super Mario Bros. 2. Man, that game takes me back! I was in second grade when it was the new hotness, but I didn’t own an NES, so my only exposure to the game was the Play Choice 10 machine at our grocery store. The Play Choice 10 was a Nintendo-branded arcade machine which had ten NES games loaded into it. It also had a built-in timer, so even if you were great at the game you picked, your quarter only bought you about three minutes of play time. Looking back, the damn thing was more like an interactive commercial for Nintendo games than a real arcade machine, but whatever, I was seven, I didn’t know the difference.

My point is, I only got to play Super Mario Bros. 2 in three-minute chunks while my mom did the grocery shopping. Maybe a little more, if I managed to squirrel away a couple of extra quarters throughout the week. And if I do say so myself, I got pretty good at playing the first few levels. I could consistently make it as far as Mouser by the time Mom rounded the corner with the shopping cart.

Another thing I did when I was seven, in those rare times when I wasn’t fantasizing about playing Nintendo, was attend second grade. The science curriculum that year involved learning all about dinosaurs. Every Friday we learned all about some rare and obscure kind of dinosaur. Not like a tyrannosaur or a stegosaurus — I mean the kind of dinosaurs with names nobody can pronounce. In fact, my favorite part of the lesson was learning to sound out each new name. One of the ones we learned was the velociraptor, which Jurassic Park had not yet made famous. Another was ornitholestes, which is a cool little dinosaur that has backwards-bending forelimbs.

I thought for sure dictionary.com would have an audio pronunciation guide for the word “ornitholestes”, but it doesn’t, which makes the rest of this post pretty dumb. But then it was pretty dumb from the outset, so I’m just going to press on with it. Bear with me, I’m still getting the feel for having my blog legs back.

The cave levels of Super Mario Bros. 2 have this rhythmic, ultra-repetitive song which, if you’re playing the game in three-minute chunks within eyeshot of the supermarket checkout, has a tendency to burrow into your skull and devour your brain. It starts out with this really intense “doot-do-do-doot-dooo” which, if you’re in second grade and learning about dinosaurs, scans perfectly with the word “ornitholestes”.

Bring it all together, and you have me here, tonight, watching Talking Time’s SMB2 race, and I’m singing along to the cave track: “Or-ni-tho-les-teeees, or-no-tho-les-teeeeees!”

I’ll let you guys know if I come up with a second verse.

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